Stained Glass and Me, Do Not Agree

Back in the late 70s, my best friend started doing stained glass. I so wanted to give it a try, but I couldn't. When making stained glass you use lead, and I would spend the next 6 years of my life being pregnant or nursing, so I felt it wa...s something I would just have to wait to try.

I never stopped dreaming about making stained glass. I was always drawn to the stained glass booths at art fairs. I clipped pics from magazines, no Pinterest then, and started a collection of books and patterns. The stained glass windows in churches mesmerized me.

We then went through a series of moves, and the thought of collecting supplies and taking classes seemed daunting. Finally, when my youngest was in school, and although chaotic, my life was stable, my desire to do stained glass resurfaced.

Like most things I do, I jumped in feet first, filled with a passion. My sister-in-law and I went to glass shops, finding beautiful pieces of glass, we bought equipment, we were ready to go.

Problem was, I HATED, doing stained glass. I HATED everything about it! It was incomprehensible to me! I had lusted after it for so long. I was prepared. I had a crafting buddy, but none of that mattered. I didn't like cutting glass. I didn't like the little shards that poked my fingers. I didn't like using a grinder that used cold water. Everything about it was cold and hard and I was heartbroken!

My sister-in-law continued on. I gave her all of my glass and equipment. From the sidelines I watched her skills grow. I was envious, but not enough to preserver in doing something I did not enjoy. My love for stained glass has never vanished. I'm still drawn to the stained glass booths at art fairs, and I still dream about having a window sized stained glass piece in my home. I'm just NOT going to be the one to make it!

So, what craft have you tried that you thought you would love doing, but wound up hating... or at least not enjoying and giving up? I know I'm not alone here

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Share on Facebook 3-29-14


Converting Our Hedgehog Applique into a Hedgehog Embroidery

Recently, Pixie, Fairy and their friend Sprite have been learning embroidery. It reminded me of how much I enjoy needlework. Right now they are learning the back stitch and French knots using an embroidery pattern we purchased of three adorable little girls. (I'll talk more about that when they are done.) I embroidered one of the little girls, too, and after talking to my DIL Meghan, decided to turn the piece into a pillow for Little Lady.

Of course, that means Little Guy needs a pillow, too. I decided to turn our Hedgehog Applique Block into an embroidery pattern. You could do the same with any of our FREE Applique Blocks. This is how I did it.

First, I made a copy of the pattern which can be found HERE. I then used my new light box to trace the pattern onto a piece of soft white cotton, using a water erasable marker. Of course, you can use any method to trace the pattern on a piece of cloth.

When I was done tracing the pattern it looked like this. You will notice the lines that indicate the ground and how the vine just stops.

Since I wanted the design to be in the middle of a pillow, and I wanted to leave space all the way around it, using the water erasable marker, I free-hand continued the vine to go around the back and under the hedgehog. Notice two things... first, I used the same type of curls I used above the hedgehog, and two, I was none too neat about it! What a mess! But I didn't worry about the mess, because the marker is erasable with water. No worries!

Now I was ready to start stitching.

Directions for how to make all the stitches used can be found in our Stitching Glossary.

I used a back stitch and 2 strands of standard DMC embroidery floss on everything accept the "berries". For the nose and eyes I began by outlining them, then I went back and filled them in with back stitches. If you would like, you could use a satin stitch. Note: Satin stitches are longer, and can easily get caught and snagged. If I was doing this as a wall hanging, I would consider using a satin stitch, but since it will be a pillow, which will be carried around, I wanted small stitches throughout the piece.

For the berries, I used 3 strands of DMC floss, and made French Knots.

I used a 7" embroidery hoop.

When I was done, the hedgehog looked like this.

Notice how I improvised on the back of the vine. Doesn't matter, all the blue lines will disappear!

Finally, I sprayed the piece using a fine mist, and like magic, all the blue markings disappeared!

Wah lah... here is our Hedgehog all done, ready to be turned into the center panel of a pillow. I love the retro 1940's feel it has to it. I'll share that as soon as I can unearth my sewing machine!


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Photos 3-25-14


Light Box :: Tracing Box

For years I've wanted a light box... not the kind for taking photographs, but rather for tracing designs. As a designer, I am always tracing, while putting together a finished product. I don't like using the thin tracing paper because it smudges... I'm not a neat drawer... and I tend to be a vigorous eraser and wind up with holes! Often, I'd tape designs to my window, using the sun as a natural light box, but what to do in the early morning or late at night when I often work?

So, I finally bought one, and I can't believe I went for all these years without one! Not only is it great for my design work, but it makes tracing designs for embroidery a piece of cake! I bought a low end light box, it cost $42.00, but it is perfectly fine for all my needs. How does it work, you ask?

Start by laying your design on the light box. The light is not on yet.

If you laid your fabric on the design without the light on, this is what it looks like.

Now, turn on the light...

Place your fabric back on the design. I use a light glue masking/painters tape to hold the fabric in place. See how the design pops! Awesomeness, I'm telling you!

Use a water erasable marker to trace the design.

And, it's that easy! You are now good to go.

If you do design work or embroidery, I so recommend the light box. Has moved up on my list of Top Ten Items for Crafting I can't do without!

Photos: 3-25-14



Barn Stars / Hex Signs

Creative Commons Photo available here

Throughout the Pennsylvania countryside, you will notice round designs painted on the sides of barns. These Barn Stars or Hex Signs became popular as paint became more affordable in the mid-1800s. The meaning of these signs is unclear, some say they were used as symbols of protection, but many historians believe that they were just for decoration. Now known as a Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, they are often sold as souvenirs

Today we are going design our own Barn Stars.

Large Sheet of White Construction Paper or Heavy Drawing Paper
Ruler (you may also want a compass and a protractor)
Markers or Acrylic Paint
Large Plate
Circle Template

To start with you will want to research Barn Star/Hex Sign designs on the internet. I also spent some time discussing symmetry with my girls.

Print off the circle template and create some thumbnail (small, less detail) drawings of Barn Stars. I required the girls to incorporated at least one line of symmetry into their designs.

Once you have a plan in place. Trace a large circle (we used a dinner plate) onto your construction paper.

Add your cross lines using a protractor and a ruler... or I cheated and just cut out one of the small circles and placed in the center of our large one to give me the guide lines. Another option would be to cut out your circle and fold it in half 3 times.

Transfer your design to your large circle. Fairy cut out a bird shape she drew and traced. She flipped it over before tracing the second bird to make it a mirror image.

We chose to use markers to complete this project. I was afraid that the girls would have trouble getting their details nice and neat with paint. Be sure to outline the edges of your drawing first and then fill in with color. This will help keep the lines neat.

Cut out the outside edge of your circle and you now have your very own Barn Star / Hex Sign.

Tube Vase and Felt Flowers

A couple of weeks ago, I posted this entry on Facebook:

"I would like to say I'm taking all this building chaos in stride. Really... I would like to say that... but since I can't, what I can say is I tend to go to my happy place when the days turn comical. Have I mentioned I have a port-a-john sitting in my front yard? Oh, I have? Well, I believe it bears repeating.

I'm not always the most organized person, and I am often amazed how I manage to get anything done. I have to work hard to maintain order in my life, seeing as how I don't come by it naturally, and because I have no control over what is happening to my environment right now, I've taken to thinking about minute details.

There's a scene in the movie Romancing the Stone, where Kathleen Turner takes a wrong bus, winds up in the middle of the jungle, is sucked down a mud slide, and is plopped down in the middle of a huge puddle. She is disheveled, her clothes are ripped, she broke off the heel of her shoe, and when she regains her footing, she begins looking for a lost button. You see how ludicrous this is, right? Well, right now, I'm looking for a button!

So, here's the deal. Tim gave me this awesome vase for Christmas. Actually, it's really more like 8 little vases stuck together... think sea anemone. Anyway, it should have 1 little flower in each vase. I've had it put away for our new room. I decided tonight, it would do me good to find flowers for this vase.

I happened upon the lovely Etsy shop The Felt Florist and found these little felt rosette flowers. They will be just the right size for my vase. I'm waiting to hear back from the shop owner with a question I have about colors.

When I get the flowers, I'll be sure to share a pic of them in the vase. Should be awesome.

And, there you go, my friends... I found my button!"

Well, here is the vase from Tim. He bought it at a small shop SOMEWHERE in South Carolina, but I see they are available on Amazon, too.

And here is the lovely bouquet of flowers I bought from The Felt Florist on Etsy.

They are going to look lovely in the new room!


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